Tuesday Question - M-West or the Pac 10?
Utah RB Darrell Mack
Utah RB Darrell Mack
Posted Sep 23, 2008

Who's better right now, the Mountain West or the Pac 10?

Past TQs
- If USC is No. 1, who's No. 2?
- The best unknown storyline
- Will the week 1 duds rebound?
- Top Week 1 Games
- Predict the 2008 Season
- Does Sean Lee's injury change your view of spring ball?
- Is a CF Final 4 a good idea?
- How good will Terrelle Pryor be?
- 2008 March Madness Picks

- What can college football learn from March Madness?
- Three Big Spring Storylines
- The Combines are missing ...
- Best & Curious Coaching Hires

- 2008 Wish List
- The 3 Big Bowl Questions

- What are you most looking forward to from the bowls?
- Did the BCS get it right?
- Who deserves a spot more, OSU or WVU?

- What BCS matchups do you want?
- 10 Greatest Quarterbacks of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Defensive Players of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Regular Season Games of All-Time
- 10 Greatest Playmakers of All-Time
- 10 Worst Heisman Winners
- 10 Greatest Bowl Games
- All-Time Offensive Team
- All-Time Defensive Team

Pete Fiutak     

Q: Right now, do you rank the Mountain West over the Pac 10?

A: I'd call it dead-even.

I know BYU had to work way too hard to beat Washington, probably the No. 8 team in the Pac 10, but that seemed more like an aberration. USC is better than anyone in the Mountain West, but after the Pac 10 lost yet another big game against a non-BCS league, with Oregon losing to Boise State, it's not like anyone else is stepping up to show much.

I think Cal is better than BYU, Utah and TCU, but in a head-to-head with all three, the Bears would lose one of those games. What else is there for the Pac 10 to hang its hat on? Yes, the 0-5 record against the Mountain West matters, and so do games like Utah over Michigan and Colorado State over a high-powered Houston.

Alright, so Wyoming, San Diego State, Colorado State and now, without QB Donovan Porterie, the bottom half of the Mountain West isn't anything special, UNLV's win over Arizona State and New Mexico's win over Arizona were huge for the league.

However, the Pac 10 has had its moments. UCLA might look awful now, but it did beat Tennessee. Cal's win over Michigan State was nice, Oregon showed heart in the comeback over Purdue, and of course you have to throw USC's win over Ohio State into the equation.

Eventually the Pac 10 should be better, but right now, that 0-5 Mountain West matzo ball is hanging out there, and it won't go away.

Richard Cirminiello      

Q: Right now, do you rank the Mountain West over the Pac 10?

A: While it’s tempting to do so, especially after what happened two weeks ago between the two leagues, I’m not quite ready to declare the Mountain West the better conference. The Pac-10, for all of its problems this month, still has more depth in terms of personnel and members. I realize this theory is being tested in 2008, but I’ll still take Washington over San Diego State and a healthy Oregon over TCU. Oh, and don’t underestimate the power of Troy. It ought to count for something that the Pac-10 houses the nation’s top-rated team, right? The Mountain West’s superiority over the Pac-10 this fall has been a wee bit overhyped, considering USC hasn’t had a crack at BYU, Utah, or TCU. The Mountain West and its members deserve all of the pub they’ve been getting over the last couple of weeks for outplaying bigger schools and overshooting expectations. If this was annual head-to-head tournament, it would already be putting the hardware in Craig Thompson’s trophy case. One month, however, isn’t enough of a sampling to give the league the nod over the Pac-10. Although the gap between the two is a whole lot closer than any of us could have imagined in August.   

Matthew Zemek

Q: Right now, do you rank the Mountain West over the Pac 10?

A: Yes. Not just because of the head-to-head wins (New Mexico over Arizona, TCU over Stanford, BYU over UCLA, BYU over Washington, UNLV over Arizona State), but because some of those head-to-heads involved lower- or middle-division MWC teams beating middle- or upper-division Pac-10 teams.
Sometimes, the low end of one conference proves to be superior to the low end of another conference. But in the case of the Mountain West and the Pac-10, some of this season's results (not all, but at least some) indicate that the MWC's lower-tier clubs can beat middle-tier teams from the Pac. That's alarming... and also the best justification for ranking the Mountain West higher at this point in time.

Steve Silverman

Q: Right now, do you rank the Mountain West over the Pac 10?

A: At first, this seems like a question designed to get a knee-jerk reaction like, “Of course the Mountain West is better than the Pac-10. Look at what happened two weeks ago. The Mountain West was 4-0 vs. the Pac-10. Brigham Young 59, UCLA 0. Need I say more?”

Or perhaps the Pac-10 people might say something like: “Yes, you had a couple of good weeks in September. Come talk to me in January when USC is playing for the national championship and Oregon is playing on New Year’s Day. Talk to me then.”

But instead of getting our noses out of joint, we will look at the situation as objectively as possible. The Mountain West has some good teams in Tulsa, UNLV and Utah and a potentially great team in Brigham Young. In the Pac-10, Cal, Arizona and Oregon should be competitive all season long. Oregon has an excellent chance to play on New Year’s Day. And then there’s USC. Pete Carroll’s team is once again a juggernaut. Mark Sanchez is a top quarterback and the Trojans have a defense to be reckoned with. As the season moves along, the Trojans will get better.

Even the most ardent Mountain West rooter would have to give an objective nod to USC. Say Brigham Young continues to roll the rest of the year and managed to go undefeated. And the SEC and Big 12 cooperated by having their best teams lose once or twice. Would the Cougars really want any part of the Trojans in the National Championship game? I think not.

I’m not talking about what they would say publicly and how they might bluster in front of the cameras and their fans. But when the players and coaches are alone with their thoughts, Brigham Young wants nothing to do with USC.

So in a very round-about and long-winded way, the Mountain West is simply not in the same class as the Pac-10. Put the best from each conference on the field and it would be a route.